The Ever Growing Terrorist Threat in Africa-What’s being done about it?
The article makes some excellent points. The key points here are:
1. The instability of Africa has allowed a multitude of non-state actors to create instability.
2. The majority of responses to African terrorism has been military force, often used by the United States, but also including interventions in Cote d’Ivoire and Mali by France.
3. The best solution to the problem is building up institutions of strong and peaceful governance.
I agree on the first two points, because attention regarding peaceful development of Africa has not been seriously undertaken since the Cold War. The default policy of nation-building, sponsored by the U.S. and China, still carries a component of military aide alongside foreign aid.
Though strong institutions with strong penalties for bad behavior and reputations for strong service delivery are valuable, current policies continue to reinforce bad behaviors of patrimonial state leaders. Historical examples include pre-war Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Through foreign aid (both government sponsored and charitable giving), money and resources are plundered by dictators and local guerrilla groups, fueling poverty and encouraging violence in unstable countries. Foreign aid given to Somalia in Operation Restore Hope (1993) strengthened local warlord Mohammed Aidid, a factor in the U.S. Raid on Mogadishu, featured in the film Black Hawk Down.
So the recommendation I would attach is this: Strengthen institutions AND develop higher legal and political standards around the distribution of foreign aid. If we can limit how much aid actually helps terrorists and guerrillas, then we can limit the expansion of violent behaviors caused by corrupt African dictators. Aid that instead promotes economic and social stability and to promote disarming of non-state armed groups is more more effective in building stability in one of the poorest regions of the world.
There has been growing concern that Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations continue to pose a threat to the U.S homeland and interests even more than a decade after 9/11. The White House stated in August 2013 that AQAP “poses the greatest potential threat” and demonstrates “an interest in and a willingness to attempt serious attacks on the United States, our allies, and our people.” What came next was the closing of dozens of U.S embassies. President Barack Obama even mentioned the emergence of al-Qaeda affiliates and the need to disable the networks during his State of the Union speech in January. What are we doing about it?
Africa is an interesting challenge. Let’s take al-Qaeda out of the picture for a minute. Africa is filled with non-state actors creating their own challenges. Ethnic and regional tensions lead to the presence of militias, government corruption leads to even more violence, and…
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